4 Resistance Training Myths Exposed

By Dave Tai (guest contributor)

Misconceptions lead to inaccurate assumptions, and when spread, these assumptions evolve into myths. These myths in themselves are not harmful; however, people who believe in them will often spend hours week after week working on something completely ineffective and then give up trying altogether. Knowing the truth about these myths will help you understand what you ought to do to maximize your workout sessions.

Myth #1: Isolation exercises help to remove fat in specific areas

Perfect place for a run (photo: San Diego Shooter)[1]

One of the major misconceptions people have is the concept that by working on areas with more fatty deposits they will be able to reduce fat in that area. Often you will see people performing crunches or sit ups to lose tummy fat, or perform lower limb exercises to get slimmer thighs. However, fat loss is not exercise specific; working specialized muscle groups will only help to strengthen or build muscle but will not result in specific fat loss. You might be able to perform a thousand crunches, but if your body fat percentage is high, your six pack will still be hidden underneath a layer of fat.


Your body composition is a combination of fat free mass and fat mass. In order to have a toned and lean body you need a low fat  mass and a decent amount of muscle mass (without muscle mass you will end up looking bony and skinny). For people whose main concern is to slim down, you are better off performing cardio workouts such as a full body circuit, runs or interval training runs.

Myth #2: Women will become She-hulks if they do strength training

Many women are afraid they will end up looking like the female bodybuilders in magazines if they pick up weight training. As a result, many often use light weights and high repetitions thinking it will improve their muscle tone.


If the women training with light weights can train to fatigue within 90 seconds, they will actually benefit similarly to people who perform at heavier weights. However, if the weights do not provide enough resistance and you can perform with the weights for more than two minutes, your workout will bring few benefits.

Here is another secret for the ladies: some men have to struggle quite a bit to put on muscles. Females have a much lower level of testosterone and are genetically different from males, and therefore are not likely to bulk up. With resistance training women can improve their fitness level, strength and physique, but it is rather unlikely that they will develop any form of excessive muscular hypertrophy. The female bodybuilders that appear on magazines often take supplements to achieve such bodies.

Myth #3: You can be too young or old for training

Stretch (photo: hey mr glen)[2]

Most people think that resistance training is limited to youths and adults only. Therefore many elderly or younger children have been discouraged to take part in such activities.


This cannot be further from the truth. This does not mean making kindergarten children should perform all kinds of heavy lifting like deadlifts or bench presses. In one study, nine year old girls underwent 10 months of simple resistance exercise and increased not only their strength and physical abilities but also their bone density as well. Contrary to popular belief they did not experience any form of stunted growth or injury. In another study, people of almost ninety years of age took part in a ten week strength training program and saw health benefits as well. Older muscles are surprisingly responsive to progressive resistance exercises. The key take home message here is to design appropriate resistance training rather than avoid it altogether.

Myth #4: Muscle turns to fat after you stop training

Many people are hesitant to build muscle because they are afraid that the moment they stop their training, the muscles they worked so hard to get will convert into fat. They are further convinced by people who seemed really muscular when they are young and who ended up with flabby bodies and beer bellies.


Understanding basic physiology will let you know that untrained muscle turning into fat is an absurd notion. Muscles and fats are two different tissues and there is no way one can transform into the other. What seems like a transformation is often an increase in the ratio of fat to muscle. That said, it does not mean that the muscles you have will stay with you forever like everything else, it takes dedication and maintenance and should be a part of your lifestyle rather than a short term plan.

By guest contributor and fitness instructor Dave Tai. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide Eat Your Way to Health Secrets of a Healthy Diet.[3][4][5]

Related Articles

Calisthenics: A Surprising Alternative to Weight Training (at HealthMatters.sg)[6]

6 Tips to Staying Healthy and Happy in Your Mid-Life (at HealthMatters.sg)[7]

4 Keys to Jumping Higher and Further with Plyometrics (at HealthMatters.sg)[8]


  1. ^ San Diego Shooter (www.flickr.com)
  2. ^ hey mr glen (www.flickr.com)
  3. ^ HealthMatters.sg (healthmatters.sg)
  4. ^ Singapore Health and Fitness blog (healthmatters.sg)
  5. ^ Click here to get our free guide Eat Your Way to Health Secrets of a Healthy Diet (healthmatters.sg)
  6. ^ Calisthenics: A Surprising Alternative to Weight Training (at HealthMatters.sg) (sg.news.yahoo.com)
  7. ^ 6 Tips to Staying Healthy and Happy in Your Mid-Life (at HealthMatters.sg) (healthmatters.sg)
  8. ^ 4 Keys to Jumping Higher and Further with Plyometrics (at HealthMatters.sg) (healthmatters.sg)

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  1. Reply

    What Can I Do To Guarantee Losing Weight And Toning In A Fairly Fast Way? I really need to lose weight and I have been having trouble.

    What workouts should I do?
    What foods should I eat?
    Which foods should I avoid?
    What is considered a “small” meal when people mention eating 5-6 small meals a day?
    How much water should I drink?
    What other weight loss and fat loss tips do you have?


      • HealthNut
      • March 21, 2013

      Drink Genmaicha green tea.

      it is a japanese natural tea, that helps with weight loss.


  2. Reply

    What Are Some Good Ab Exercises? I’m really skinny and I really don’t have any fat in the abdomen area, but I’m trying to get my abs defined. A lot of the articles for ab exercises I’m seeing have things like “fat loss tips for great abs”. Since I don’t need to lose fat, I’m wondering if I need to do different kinds of exercises than what those articles are suggesting.
    I’m also doing cardio exercises. Should I do ab exercises before or after I do cardio? Or should I do them at completely separate times?

      • HealthNut
      • March 21, 2013

      They say so, because you do have fat on top of your abs, you just do not need to lose it anywhere else. Or little flab.
      jogging is an excellent exercise because it let you tone throughout your whole body. If you want to tone in
      specific areas, you should target them with exercises. If they are
      your problem areas, they will be very difficult to tone. You will have
      to work double on them. The best approach is this:
      1. Lower/control your daily calorie intake (control for normal
      weight, lower for overweight).
      2. Run/jog to lower your overall body fat percentage.
      3. Target your problem areas with exercises.
      an excellent exercise, you can do it in front of your TV: sit on a
      stool, and put your toes under something (piece of heavy furniture,
      for example). In your hands hold a little dumbbell. Please, make sure
      that it is not very heavy, start with one kilo, for example, or you
      will damage your back and spine! Slowly move the upper part of your
      body back, until it’s parallel with the ground. Stop for a second and
      move it back to the sitting position. Repeat ten times. Every week add
      to the number of repetitions. You will see the results in a week,
      guaranteed! You will see or feel under the fat – if you have any – six
      pack and muscles. Dumbbells do wonders. Much better than these
      crunches – I came up to three hundreds and there was no results AT
      ALL. With the dumbbells you will see it in a week.

    • Odd
    • March 21, 2013

    What Are Some Weight Loss Tips And Low Impact Cardio Exercises? I am 19, stand at around 5’8″ and weigh 172 pounds. I have been doing diet and exercise for about 3 weeks, and have lost 16 pounds so far. My diet consists of 1200 calories a day (healthy foods), 64 oz. of water a day, and also about 2 cups of coffee every morning (I sometimes don’t have time to finish my second cup). I have also been doing varying cardio exercises.. I try to switch it out everyday and focus on different areas each day. Some days I’ll work on my legs, some days my arms and chest area, and some days my abdominals. I do yoga, walking, jogging, push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, lifting medium sized weights and of course I stretch before I do any work out at all. I just want to know what are some lower impact cardio exercises and weight loss tips? I love cardio and how good it makes me feel, but things like jumping jacks really hurt my knees (they haven’t ever hurt this bad before, even when I used to do jumping jacks when I was younger), and running is a bit too much because I not only have shin splints, but also the last time I started a running routine I ended up with a hairline fracture in each shin, and I am also very flat footed so it is very jarring.

    What are some low impact cardio routines I can do if I have no equipment? I am saving up for a bicycle right now… But that’s about all I can think of other than the things I have already been doing. I feel like I’m not doing enough though.

    **Note: When I started my diet three weeks ago, that was when I had just got back into exercise because I had a baby in December and had a high risk, difficult pregnancy and couldn’t exercise through out due to a risk to my baby. That’s why I need to find out about more low impact exercises, because it is still fresh to me and I feel like I don’t want to push myself too hard right off the bat because it might strain me.
    ***Edit: Also, thank you, but I’m really not interested in using supplements or pills or anything like that. I take a multivitamin, that’s it. I’m not interested in scham pills because if there even is an actual weight loss pill that actually makes you ‘melt off the pounds’, it doesn’t really sound healthy…

      • HealthNut
      • March 21, 2013

      Addrena is a supplement that aids in weight loss, boosting energy, and mental focus. The unique blend of vitamins, extracts, herbal stimulants, and nootropic smart drugs make it powerful in facilitation of body fat loss, boosting energy, and cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  3. Reply

    How Should I Train For Cross Country Running And Loose Weight?? I am overweight and want to start cross country in fall (end of august/ begining of sept. so 4-5 months) I can’t run for more than 300-600 feet at a time and need to build up to the 3 mile (5K). I need training tips and weight-loss/ fat loss tips. Any help is appriciated!!!!
    Dani, I know you answered my other question. I was trying to get a variety of answers.

      • HealthNut
      • March 21, 2013

      The best thing would be to start jogging now. Start at a managable pace and go for as long as you can. You just have to build up to it. When I started running I could only do a mile, after a while of doing that and gradually adding more distance, I got up to 4 miles. As far as weightloss – cardio is the best way, so stick to the running. Try a stationary bike if you can’t get outside much, but cycling on a stationary and running are completely different, so you definitely want to train with running.

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